Family planning service provision in rural areas: a survey in Washington State

S A Dobie, L Gober, R A Rosenblatt
Family Planning Perspectives 1998, 30 (3): 139-42, 147

CONTEXT: Women in rural areas are highly dependent on public clinics for family planning services, yet little information has been collected on rural family planning providers, especially on their funding and operation.

METHODS: All 31 family planning clinic sites in rural Washington State were surveyed about their sponsorship, staffing, service provision and population coverage.

RESULTS: Clinic sites were located in 25 of the 53 discrete rural health service areas of Washington State. While the three wealthiest areas had clinics, eight of the poorest areas had no clinics. Eight clinics were Planned Parenthood affiliates, eight were private freestanding clinics and 15 were local health department sites. Clinic sites were small (with the equivalent of 2.4 full-time staff members, on average) and offered a mean of 18 of 43 potential reproductive and women's health care services; general primary care services were rarely provided. Only one clinic offered abortions.

CONCLUSION: Family planning clinics in rural Washington State offer an important but limited number of services. Many rural areas have no local family planning clinic. Given these clinics' reliance on federal and state funding, decreased public support might seriously impair family planning provision in rural areas.

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